Family, friends mourn death of Havasu business owner killed in UTV rollover
The victim of a fatal off-road accident who was found Tuesday by two hunters in the Hualapai Mountains has been identified as a Lake Havasu City business owner.
Mark Matt, 64, was a Havasu resident of almost 40 years, and owner of Havasu’s USA RV and Marine. According to the Sheriff’s report, the hunters located Matt’s rolled-over vehicle, with Matt pinned beneath it. Two years prior, Matt suffered a similar accident in the same remote area.
In August 2016, Matt left for a trip into the Hualapai Mountains. When he didn’t return that evening, Mohave County Search and Rescue volunteers tracked Matt to an area of the Hualapai Mountains, where they found the victim pinned beneath his vehicle – which had fallen 200 feet to the base of a cliff. Matt was transported for emergency medical treatment, but ultimately recovered.
“It was scary,” said long-time friend John Meyers, who is also the general manager at USA RV and Marine. “When I went out there to recover the vehicle, I was stunned that anyone could walk away from that. It’s possible that this time, he was going to see the site of his crash in 2016 … it wasn’t very far from where he was found this week.”
According to Meyers, Matt had a passion for off-roading that went hand-in-hand with his passion for fireworks. Matt would often drive into the Mohave County desert to test or experiment with fireworks, and he was an avid member of the Western Pyrotechnic Association. He was well-liked by his peers and employees, and Matt’s loss has been deeply felt in the Havasu community.
“Very few business owners are as well-liked as he was,” Meyers said. “He was very hands-on as a business owner, from the smallest of tasks to running the company, and he was very approachable. I’ve never met anyone who was revered by so many, and it wasn’t easy to meet with the staff afterward. It’s been pretty traumatic. It was quick … it wasn’t like it was a health issue. One day everyone saw him, and the next, no one ever saw him again. He will be greatly missed.”
Matt built one of the most successful boat dealerships in the Southwest, his family said, and was described as a loving husband, supportive father and a man of great integrity.
The shock of Matt’s death was still fresh for his family on Friday. His oldest son, Stephen Matt, traveled from New York to visit Matt a week ago.
“I brought my daughter to see him,” Stephen said. “We came here from New York City a week ago, and flew back … then I got the call on Wednesday. I’m glad his granddaughter got to see him one last time.”
According to Stephen, Matt was familiar with the desert terrain surrounding Havasu. But after acquiring a cabin in the Hualapai Mountains, he found himself exploring an unfamiliar, ever-changing landscape.
“The place where he fell is called Devil’s Dip,” Stephen said. “The area had a reputation for being very dangerous. Even if he had been riding with someone else, he still could have tipped over.”
Matt’s family is still awaiting a full report on the accident from the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office. The family will host Matt’s Celebration of Life at 2 p.m. Sept. 19 at the London Bridge Resort.
“He was friendly, and he never lost that curious spark,” Stephen said. “Everyone has a unique story about him – that’s what I’m looking forward to, hearing everyone’s stories.”